Sheffield United v Barnsley preview
The Reds travel down the M1 this weekend hoping to put the brakes on Sheffield United’s fine run of form of late.
Nigel Clough’s side are unbeaten in six games in all competitions, having won their last four on the bounce following Tuesday night’s 2-1 League Cup success at the MK Dons.
That record leaves Barnsley’s South Yorkshire rivals in the League One play-off places and with the Blades winning four of their six league games at Bramall Lane it is guaranteed to be a tough afternoon for the Reds.
Danny Wilson’s side will be buoyed by their last outing however, with the Tykes coming within 11 minutes of defeating league leaders Bristol City.
A 2-2 draw at Oakwell was enough to put a halt on Barnsley’s two-match losing streak but with just two points separating the Tykes and the relegation zone they will be desperate to pick up just their third away league win of the campaign on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds’ last success on the road at Rochdale was sandwiched in between defeats at both Port Vale and Peterborough but following a much improved performance at London Road, Wilson’s men will go into this weekend’s derby with an air of confidence.
South Yorkshire derbies between the two sides have been non-existent in the past three seasons after the Blades' relegation to the third tier at the end of the 2010-11 season.
That campaign witnessed the last two clashes between the rivals, with the latest of those coming in April 2011 when a brace from Danny Haynes earned a 2-2 draw for the Reds.
A solo goal from Argentinian midfielder Hugo Colace handed the Reds a narrow victory in the Oakwell encounter but - with three draws and two Sheffield United wins in the past five meetings at Bramall Lane - you have to go back a lot further for Barnsley’s last triumph in Sheffield.
On that occasion Neil Shipperley was the hero, netting the winner to earn the Reds a 2-1 derby success after Martin Bullock had seen his earlier opener cancelled out by United’s Carl Asaba.
Barnsley boss Wilson has a full squad at his disposal for the short trip to Sheffield this weekend.
Dale Jennings returned from an ankle injury with a six minute cameo against Bristol City last Saturday and will be pushing for his first start in over a month at Bramall Lane.
Top goal scorer Conor Hourihane and defender Martin Cranie are both available after avoiding a fifth caution of the season in the Reds’ last outing.
Blades forward Michael Higdon will be pushing for his first start since early October after his late double saw the Blades reach the last eight of the League Cup on Tuesday night.
A red card against Chesterfield left the former Crewe man with a three-game ban and following two substitute appearances, his fourth and fifth goals of the season could see him return to a starting berth.
Defender Jay McEveley will come up against his former employers for the first time since leaving Oakwell just over two years ago.
The full-back made 49 appearances in two seasons for the Reds before joining Swindon Town in June 2012, where he went on to become a regular until his switch to Bramall Lane in August.
Former Barnsley favourite Jamal Campbell-Ryce is also part of the set-up at Sheffield United having joined from Notts County in the summer on a two-year deal.
The ex-Jamaica international made 81 league starts for the Reds during a two-and-a-half year spell with the Club which ended in January 2010 following his move to Bristol City.
Man in the Middle
Cheshire-based official Scott Mathieson will be in charge for his 11thBarnsley game on Saturday, with the most recent of those coming seven months ago when the Reds suffered a 1-0 home loss against Bournemouth. The 51-year-old has taken control of just eight games this season, brandishing three red cards and 17 yellows. Mathieson – who is in his 18thseason as a Football League official – sent off three Yeovil players in the space of 22 minutes as the Glovers drew 1-1 at Reading last season.
Their Star Man
Scottish striker Marc McNulty moved south of the border in May to join the Blades on a three-year deal from Livingston for an undisclosed fee. The former Celtic trainee netted 19 times in 39 appearances for the West Lothian side last season, which earned the 22-year-old a move to England, bringing to an end his five year association with the Club. After finding the back of the net on just his second Sheffield United outing, McNulty has never looked back, scoring five in his last nine appearances including a late strike as the Blades picked up a 2-0 win at Yorkshire rivals Bradford City in mid-October. That haul leaves the frontman as United’s top goal scorer despite making just five league starts so far this term.
Neil Shipperley is a name that both Barnsley and Sheffield United supporters will remember fondly.
For the Reds, the Chatham-born forward enjoyed two prolific seasons, notching 31 times, including 15 in his first campaign - after joining from Nottingham Forest in July 1999 - as the Tykes narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier Division after suffering play-off final heartache against Ipswich. The Chelsea academy graduate went one better in the 2000-01 season, hitting 16 goals in 42 appearances but unfortunately for the Reds a 16thplaced finish was the best they could achieve and Shipperley moved onto pastures new, signing a deal with Wimbledon in July 2001.
Following a two-year stay in south-west London and a short spell at Crystal Palace, Shipperley returned to South Yorkshire and agreed a move to Bramall Lane in the summer of 2005. The experienced attacker had a season to remember with the Blades, firing them to the Premier League with 11 goals in 34 starts. Regrettably for the front man he failed to make an appearance in the top flight for United and in January 2007 he moved onto Brentford where he failed to score in 11 games before announcing his retirement from football just four months later.
Going to the match?
Sheffield United play at Bramall Lane, its full address is as follows:
Sheffield United Football Club
How to get there
Take the second left into Shoreham Street and the ground is on the right.
Exit the M1 at Junction 33 following signs to Sheffield (A57), continue along the Sheffield parkway until you reach the Park Square roundabout. Take the third exit and follow the A61 Sheaf Street. Sheffield Railway Station is on your left, at the Sheaf Street roundabout, continue ahead onto Suffolk Street. At the Granville Square roundabout turn right onto St Mary's Road.
From the North:
Exit the M1 at Junction 29 and take the A617 towards Chesterfield. Continue into Chesterfield and at the roundabout junction with the A61 take the third exit towards Sheffield. Continue on the A61 through Dronfield and into Sheffield. Continue past the Earl of Arundel and Surrey Public House on the left. Take the next left onto Bramall Lane and the ground is on the right.
From the South:
Take the second left into Shoreham Street and the ground is on the right.
Exit the M1 at Junction 31 or 33 and take the A57 to the roundabout, take the third exit onto Sheaf Street. Sheffield Railway Station is on your left, at the Sheaf Street roundabout, continue ahead onto Suffolk Street. At the Granville Square roundabout turn right onto St Mary's Road.
From the East:
Take the A57 into Sheffield and take the fourth exit at roundabout into Upper Hanover Street and at the second roundabout take the third exit Bramall Lane.
From the West:
Non Match Day Car Parking:
Sheffield, S2 4SU
(Main car park) Cherry Street
Sheffield, S1 4ST
(Behind the Kop) Shoreham Street
Sidney Street, Sheffield, S1 4EG
Rockingham Way, Sheffield, S1 4JD
Furnival Gate, Matilda Way, Sheffield, S1 4QJ
Eyre Street, Sheffield, S1 4QW
Atkinsons, Charter Row, Sheffield, S1 4HR
: Off-Street Match Day Parking
For further details call Traveline on 01709 51 51 51.
From High Street, services 20/20a, 25/25a, 75, 76, 97 & 98 will take you to London Road/John Street.
From Arundel Gate service numbers 33, 43, 44/44a (Chesterfield) or 252 will take you to Bramall Lane.
From the Sheffield Interchange, services 47 and 48 will take you to Shoreham Street. Service 53 (Low Edges) will take you to Queens Road.
The ground is a few minutes’ walk from Sheffield Railway Station (one mile).
This stop is served by the Blue and Purple routes from the city centre bound for Halfway and Herdings Park respectively.
The ground is approximately a 10 minute walk from Granville Road (Sheffield College) Tram Stop.
Online sales have now closed. You can order by telephone on 0871 22 66 777 (booking fees apply) to collect before 5pm on Friday 31st October, or between 9am and 12 noon Saturday 1st November.
Tickets are priced as follows:
Over 60s: £18
Full time student (+NUS): £14
Young adult aged 17-21: £14
Juvenile Under 17: £12
The official club coaches depart Oakwell at 1pm on matchday and is priced at £13 per seat.